The first of what I’m sure will be our superb new electric trains is under construction in Spain. The body shell for the first of the carriages has been completed and have already taken a trip to the paint shop to get its colours with details like logo added later in the process. The train is now in the assembly process to get fitted out with all of its components which is expected to be finished in late April. It will then spend a few months in Spain going though initial testing before being loaded onto a ship to be transported here and will be delivered by late August.

EMU painted 1

EMU painted 2

EMU painted 3

I am really looking forward to the arrival of this train. It will take some months to go though testing over here before going into service, likely early in the new year. Thanks to AT for providing the photos. If you want a reminder of what the final version is expected to look like, check out this post of the mock-up that we looked at last year. The mock-up is now in Motat where you can view it.

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    1. I assume you’re referring to the screeching they make when they do the turn from Parnell rise around the Strand? IIRC that bend is basically at the absolute maximum that a train can handle so unless money is made available to allow work to improve the angles around there I don’t think the new trains will be any quieter. If this was a road of course plenty of money would have been made available to straighten it to motorway standards.

      1. I think Kiwi Rail has just upgraded that corner with heavy duty sleepers, was there a article in their Express Newsletter?

        1. There were big piles of new-looking concrete sleepers by the track, and now they are gone, and the ballast suddenly looks fresh and clean. I’d guess so.

      2. Yeah, it’s worst going around the Strand corner, but the SA cars at least screech at the Southern Line/Western Line corner at Newmarket, just east of Mt Eden, and just east of Kingsland. (possibly after that too, but I haven’t stayed on to check).

      3. That bend is right by where I live, and let me tell you it’s as loud as it’s ever been. Although things will hopefully improve once we’re fully electric.

        Straightening it would be a bit tricky, unless they redirected the line down Shipwright Lane or something.

        1. That’d be the way to do it. Not tricky, just a bit expensive, since you’d need to run the line elevated above the Strand and Shipwright Lane. It’d be a hell of a battle though, since although some people benefit, it gets a lot closer to a lot of homes around Augustus Tce.

          On the other hand, if the line ran elevated above the streets it would free up some railway land for redevelopment, which could pay for a bit of the cost.

      1. I think there has been a noticeable decrease in wheel noise recently. They seem no more noisy now than the EEs they replaced.

    1. I believe that there is a requirement for a high visibility front end, I don’t think it is specified that it has to be yellow but that is what we get.

  1. They could oil that corner of the track regularly, but that might be tricky to do consistently, even with an automatic system, and still would be unlikely to fix it fully, I guess…

    Good track quality can mitigate the issue somewhat, but as bbc says, unless the design is changed, there’s real limits. Its all due to the decision to put the old “The Strand” (then the main station) station hwere it was. At the time, those smart folks thought nobody needed passenger rail access further west – the Newmarket line simply curved east and stopped. Once they built Britomart, they had to bend the end around the back of old station, going almost 180 degrees, to connect to the approach tunnel.

    You could only prevent that if you shifted several bridges to bring the alignment to go as an elevated track above (or a big tunnel under) The Strand (the road this time), or demolished both Vector Arena and the old train station.

    1. “Its all due to the decision to put the old “The Strand” (then the main station) station hwere it was. At the time, those smart folks thought nobody needed passenger rail access further west”
      Actually the original Auckland station is where Britomart is today. They moved it back to the Strand ~1930 with the intention of building the Morningisde Deviation (early version of the CRL) to serve the central city. Only problem was, once they moved the station they canned the extension plans leaving us with a station stranded from the CBD (see what I did there). I have also heard there was some thinking at the time that the CBD would reorienent itself from an North South direction like it is today, and instead spread along the waterfront to meet the station but that didn’t happen.

      1. Matt L – I was aware of that. The old train station (or at least the fronting building) was in the gap where Galway Street is now, next to what was then the Post Office – now the Britomart Building. However, someone decided to site The Strand station (as the new MAIN station) where it was, because they didn’t think the train station needed to be so far west, so my sentence still stands…

    2. After Robbie’s rapid rail fell through there were advocates for a rail station at Britomart Place at was then Auckland’s freight yard. It was surprisingly easy to bring the track around the front of the station following Beach Rd to the bus terminal. A dreary lacklustre council made sure it never happened.

  2. I just hope Auckland transport get their ticketing sorted before the new trains arrive, little wondere patronage is falling, when you see the ridiculous arrangements for tickets to the warriors game, where you have to pre purchase the tickets in 4 places. I would have got the train, as I always have to Eden park, but will now drive as if I use my hop card it will work out at close to $20 return for my wife and I, as opposed to $10 if I pre purchase my ticket, which I can’t do. Auckland transport need a bullet.

    1. That is silly. Surely they can figure a way whereby if you tag off at Kingsland station during a certain period you get the special fare? The concept of having to buy a paper ticket is something they should be moving away from.

  3. I think this completely sums up why the patronage has dropped, in that Auckland transport have stuffed up the implementation of the hop card, as you say there is no reason why they can’t make it so if you tag off at kingsland at a certain time and back on at a certain time you will be charged $5. Most other cities in the world manage this.

    Perhaps there was a reason why the government suggested snapper for the card, as one thing can be guaranteed, if a private company was running the fare collection they would make us every dollar was collected. The council just don’t care as there is no incentive.

    It is all just becoming too hard, and it is easier to drive. And this from someone who used to travel by train most days, because it was easy and simple.

    1. I think it’s important to remember that we are currently in month six of an 18 month roll-out. When we’re judging the implementation, consider that this is still happening, and the process is by no means complete. In international terms, our roll-out of integrated ticketing so far is remarkably problem-free.

      1. “In international terms, our roll-out of integrated ticketing so far is remarkably problem-free”

        The roll-outs of similar smartcard-based ticketing systems in Japan since 2001, were each completed within 6 months of launch and with no issues in regard to top ups, ticket machine service, fare charging, card-gate reader interaction and farebox reconciliation.

        1. A big complication in both the ticketing integration and the bus redesign is the involvement of the private operators…. It’s not just a question of choosing a process and implementing it, little empires of profit and advantage have to be negotiated and worked around at every step of the way. No wonder the Tory head of Transport for London even forced the private operators out there.

        2. “No wonder the Tory head of Transport for London even forced the private operators out there.” – err, all buses in London are run by private operators, as are all the main line trains (including Transport for London’s own London Overground).

        3. …and in Sydney the got halfway and cancelled it completely, while
          Melbourne was delivered six years late with much reduced functionality. Even the fabled Oyster took half a decade to get right.

          Maybe we should see if they complete the rollout on time first before declaring it a failure?

        4. It is also important to consider the technical issues (few so far) with the legal/contractual issues (a lot so far, but not all of which AT could have avoided – thanks Snapper, I just love you folks!)

          I think its working okay. Not quite as magic technically as I had hoped (I want to be able to slap my wallet onto the reader any which way, and don’t have to remember to use the right side) but I think its going to work out fine.

      1. I can’t speak for Ejtma but I don’t think this is a comment from the Snapper parade. Given Snapper’s issues I doubt they would be capable of this either, and in any case, as you eloquently point out, we will be rid of Snapper soon.

        However it is a concern that the system can’t manage or the operator can’t provide a discount for a set period to a single location on a single mode which is fully AT Hopised and instead requires the purchase of a paper ticket from a small pool of stations.

        1. This comment from Alex: “Perhaps there was a reason why the government suggested snapper for the card, as one thing can be guaranteed, if a private company was running the fare collection they would make us every dollar was collected. The council just don’t care as there is no incentive.”

        2. I am not advocating for snapper, far from it, as I can’t stand anything that they stand for as a company, what I am saying is perhaps a private company running the revenue collection may have been more focused on developing a system that actually collects the revenue in an efficient manner, and therefore makes a far greater return to the ratepayers, meaning there are more funds for investing back into transport.

  4. There have been 28 comments of which almost none have been about the new EMUs! People on here can’t seem to get away from whinging about something that has absolutely nothing to do with this post.

    Thanks for the pics Matt.Very nice IMHO. BTW Lets try not to discuss for the millionth time the yellow front. It’s starting to get just ever so slightly boring whenever it’s brought up.

  5. I wrote a long comment which got lost because I tried to attach an image and the site was all like “Invalid Security Code” :-(. Any way to get it back mods?

  6. Will the new trains have names? 🙂 And will they be repainted for occasions, like what Air NZ does to its planes for the RWC, etc.?

  7. I definitely hope the trains won’t be repainted for ‘special occasions’. That will only give AT’s marketing people the excuse to cover the windows so that passengers, oops, sorry, customers, can’t look out. I like my trains to look like trains (and these will be good-looking trains too); I definitely don’t want them looking like a piece of tasteless, mobile advertising, promoting something I’m sure not to like.

    1. Yes, I agree with you, Chris T, especially after living in Singapore where almost every bit of space on the buses, trains and stations is covered in advertising. Visual pollution promoting unnecessary consumption. Stu is correct too- graffiti-bombing should be rectified.

      1. While I don’t think that ad overkill is a good idea, some more ads and the occasional train wrapping can be a good thing… it adds interest and raises valuable revenue that AT can use to subsidise ticket prices… has to be a good thing.

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